God has ordained the ministry of the gospel, and set the gifts in the church; nothing is lacking in the provisions he has made for the edification of the church which God hath set in order, first apostles, and prophets, and after that pastors, and teachers, and evangelists, for the perfecting of the saints. These pastors, teachers and evangelists are stewards of the mysteries of the Spirit, and as such are commanded to preach the word, which is able to make you wise, unto salvation. This wisdom unto salvation cometh from above, and is first pure, then peaceable, full of love and good fruits of righteousness. They that preach the gospel should live of the gospel; not only living themselves on that true bread that cometh down from heaven, but ministering the same to them that hear them, and to hear is to obey, for this is the love of God, that ye keep his commandments. The love of God in the heart therefore is the spring of action prompting to true and acceptable obedience of the Spirit and through the Spirit. The mysteries of preaching the word are enjoined by the apostle in transferring the gift of the gospel to Timothy to preach the word by the laving on of hands. This is laid on all the servants in the ministry following him in love. There is the same obligation to preach the word in and out of season, and in preaching the word of truth and righteousness they are to preach the ordinances of God, that they that preach the gospel shall live of the gospel, under the commission of the Lord. Freely ye have received, therefore freely give, but the obligation to give and receive is reciprocal, and resting on the churches and brethren to whom they minister, that there may be an equality; not that one should be eased and another burdened, therefore this reciprocal duty is to freely give. The ordinance of God provides that the receivers of the truth of the word of the gospel should minister of their carnal things, that nothing may be lacking on either hand. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: * * * it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it?” The Lord divideth between Soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and is a discerner of the heart, and no flesh shall glory in his presence. It is the word of God by the Spirit implanted in the heart of the preacher and hearer of the word that works out the problem of equality in giving and receiving, so that it is no small thing that they who minister in spiritual things should be partakers of your carnal things. But in the light of these Scriptures it is painful to record the proverb of Solomon that there are these who withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth only to poverty, and Israel said, “My leanness, my leanness.” True, Elijah was fed by the ravens, but he was fleeing from Ahab and the idolatrous Jews, but the raven is an ill-omened bird in the deserts of Arabia, and was unclean to Israel, and to be driven as Elijah was from the house of the Lord, means a dearth of the word of the Lord in these days. God’s ordinance is not to call men to the ministry for a piece of bread, it is a cheerful gift, for God loveth a cheerful giver; not that I desire a gift, but I desire fruits that may abound to your account. How else could the fruits of the Spirit in the loving disciple be drawn out but by a willingness! He that loveth me will keep my commandments, said Jesus. And Paul declaring said, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Now what was the Spirit of Christ! was it not supremely benevolent? He gave himself for us, and God so loved the world that he gave his Son, and blessed is he that is partaker with Christ in the Spirit of the Father, who raised up Jesus by his Spirit, and if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead dwell in you, he that raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies. But now we should extend the hand of love in offerings to the Lord, in ministering to the Souls and also in ministering of our carnal things to the servants of the church who labor for. us in the gospel ministry, and if not, why not? Is it because the Spirit of Christ is not in you, or have you been wrongly instructed? Say not again, dear reader, the ravens fed Elijah when Israel was turned to idols. Yes, Elijah was fed by ravens, and he drank of the brook which was in the land of strangers, and Elijah complained, “They have digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life” to take it away, as did Herod and the Jews the life of the Lord Jesus while God reigned, and the Roman eagle was the sign of protection over Christ and his apostles by the providence of God. Rut it is not a palace and royal robes, but having food and raiment, for God hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” This is the promise and the ordinance of God. Wait not for the ravens to feed, nor the Romans to defend, but minister out of such as ye have, and as you prosper, and thus fulfill the law of the Lord, showing your faith by your works, that men may see, believe and say ye are his disciples because ye love one another. This law of Christ is written in the hearts of the Lord’s children by the Spirit of God. The ordinance of God is the law of love, charity out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and of faith implanted. This is the end of the commandment, and also the bond of perfectness, and it is reciprocal in giving and receiving on both lines, that he that laboreth in hope may be partaker of his hope, for godliness is profitable in all things, having promise not only of this life, but also of that which is to come. Now I conclude.
I. N. NEWKIRK.
OREGON City, Ore., June 25, 1905.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 78., No. 22.
NOVEMBER 15, 1905.